UCLA Basketball: A Look at Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf’s Draft Stocks

With two UCLA Basketball players officially declaring for the NBA Draft, we take a look at where some experts have the former freshmen going.

The UCLA Basketball team are losing freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf as they are officially putting their names into the NBA Draft.

After the Bruins’ loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, Ball made it official that he is heading to the NBA, while just yesterday, Leaf also made it known that he was venturing into professional waters.

So where are these former Bruins going to land? It is anyone’s guess, especially with the lottery not set, but there are several draft experts out there that think they know where the NBA-bound Bruins will go.


Mar 17, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball (2) prepares to shoot the ball against the Kent State Golden Flashes in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Ball: 3rd – Phoenix Suns

Leaf: 12th – Detroit Pistons

It seems that Ball’s underperformance in the Sweet 16 is causing many experts to drop the Ball. Though  Los Angeles Lakers’ new President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said he wants Ball, I do not see him falling below #2, especially if the Lakers get a favorable spot in the lottery.

For Leaf, this is one of the highest slots he is projected to go. As the top scorer for the Bruins last season, he should be taken somewhere around this selection.

Bleacher Report

Ball: 2nd – Los Angeles Lakers

Leaf: 15th – Portland Trailblazers

BR acknowledge that Ball did not have a great final game as a Bruin, but his overall talent is something the Lakers should pass over. For Portland, Leaf would be a good stretch four and primarily be a scorer, especially due to his “limitations” on defense.

Draft Express

Ball: 2nd – Los Angeles Lakers

Leaf: 22nd – Toronto Raptors

No reasons, just a list. Ball to the Lakers. Leaf… probably not taken this late in the draft.

Mar 19, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball (2) and forward TJ Leaf (22) celebrate the win over the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 

Ball: 4th – New York Knicks

Leaf: 28th – Los Angeles Lakers

Now this is an interesting turn of events. SB Nation has Ball falling (away from LA) simply because of his performance against Kentucky in the Sweet 16. As they stated, De’Aaron Fox “exposed” Ball, causing his stock to drop. Although, for the Lakers, they get a Bruin anyway as Leaf would be their late round choice.

CBS Sports (Gary Parrish)

Ball: 4th – Miami Heat

Leaf: 14th – Portland Trailblazers

Possibly another knock on Ball for his NCAA Tournament performance. He has slipped to #4 (away from LA) and would be heading to Miami. Leaf has another vote for Portland.

There is still plenty of time for NBA execs to mull over who they want on Draft Day, but as it looks, both Bruins are no doubt going to be first round draft picks, continuing the tradition of highly-gifted Bruins getting into the association. Go Bruins!